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Vaccination rollout on national cabinet agenda


National cabinet will meet today as it aims to get the nation’s vaccine program back on track and discuss ways to ease international border restrictions, perhaps later in the year.

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The meeting is the first of what will be twice-weekly gatherings following the vaccine rollout being thrown into disarray nearly two weeks ago.

Included in discussions will be changes to Australia’s vaccination policy, including state vaccination implementation plans, in the wake of new advice around the AstraZeneca vaccine and additional supplies of Pfizer doses.

Just over a week ago health authorities recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to those over the age of 50 after blood-clotting was linked to younger people.

A woman who died from blood-clotting last week was the third case linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia. The first two cases are still in hospital.

The new health advice has prompted South Australian authorities to go ahead with the set up of three mass vaccinations hubs dedicated to administering the Pfizer vaccine – the first of which will come online on April 30 at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds.

The State Government says this will be followed by Pfizer hubs in Adelaide’s north and south, with the old Masters hardware site in Noarlunga and the Playford Civic Centre in Elizabeth tapped to administer vaccines in June.

SA Health has administered 46,154 vaccines as of Sunday.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia is now approaching 1.5 million vaccinations after some 330,000 jabs were completed in the past week.

He said GPs continue to be the cornerstone of the program but going forward, with very strong support from governments around the country, national cabinet will consider ways the states can assist with larger vaccination clinics.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that three family members diagnosed with COVID-19 in NSW hotel quarantine picked up the virus from fellow returned travellers.

Health authorities believe the three picked up the virus from a family of four who stayed in the adjoining room of the Adina Apartment Hotel at Sydney’s Town Hall.

“This latest story again just reinforces the need for a speedy and effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines,” federal Labor’s health spokesman Mark Butler told reporters in Adelaide.

“But still Australia is not even in the top 100 nations of the world per head of population in vaccinations. We need to do better.”


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